Salone News

My take on the unaccountable imprest funds stipulation

22 November 2019 at 00:42 | 1442 views

Commentary

By Mustapha Wai Washington DC, USA

No doubt, i am a big advocate for transparency and accountability. The debate on the issue of unaccountable imprest funds at State House is well founded. However, the fact is that past presidents of Sierra Leone spent money under imprest and never had to account for it.

This practice was illegal and questionable. Many countries, including the United States, have undisclosed spending categories for various reasons, including security implications. But the basis of such undisclosed spending is in the laws. It becomes a problem when you have a president who turns out to have a big appetite for spending, like in the case of "big spender" Ernest Koroma. Coming after Koroma and looking at the trails, President Bio had to do something to legalize this questionable practice.

And that is what we have in this new bill. The focus of the debate should be about whether the President should continue to use unaccounted for imprest monies as past presidents did illegally or not, or should the government legalize this practice?

There can be valid reasons, including security implications giving rise to why the public should not know about how much the president spends.

As for the limit on such spending and abuse therein, citizens will judge President Bio on how he displays wealth, as we saw in the case of President Koroma.

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